Confucius and the Ideal Person
The ideal person is a question that can be answered according to every different individual’s morals and values. The way Confucius would define that person consists of one who had the ability to focus on the reality of the world and be empowered to provide guidelines as to how people ought to live their lives. Confucius main goal was that everyone was in a position to carry themselves with dignity, good moral character, grace and be well-spoken. The ideal person in regard to the way an individual was described by Confucius could be regarded as someone who has been able to learn how to live their entire life within the parameters that had firmly been established by the Heavens.
Some Confucian virtues, such as love of education and the arts, help individuals develop their unique talents. But ...view middle of the document...
” Originally, li referred to carrying out rites correctly. More generally, it means knowing and using the proper words and actions for social life. For each situation, there are appropriate words to say, proper ways to dress, and correct things to do. Shu the usual translation of shu is “reciprocity,” but its essence addresses the question, how will my action affect the other person? It is also another version of the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. The word xiao (hsiao) is usually translated as “filial piety” (devotion of a son or daughter to a parent). It also means the devotion that all members have to their entire family’s welfare. It encompasses several notions: remembrance of ancestors, respect for parents and elders, and care for children in the family. Ideally, it means valuing the entire extended family of past, present, and future. The term wen means “culture” and includes all the arts that are associated with civilization.
Confucianism has a special love for poetry and literature, as well as a fondness for calligraphy, painting, and music. The educated person is expected not only to have knowledge of these arts but to have an amateur skill in them as well. Confucianism stresses other virtues, too particularly loyalty, consensus, hard work, thrift, honesty, uprightness, and emotional control. One virtue frequently mentioned is sincerity. The Confucian notion of sincerity, however, means to choose naturally and automatically to do what is correct for society. It teaches that the individual should restrain selfish desires in order to fulfill job duties and social obligations properly.
Through this kind of unselfish sincerity, the noble person becomes united with the force of the universe, which is already according to Confucian thought sincere. “Sincerity is the way of Heaven. . . . He who possesses sincerity is he who, without an effort, hits what is right. . . . He who attains to sincerity is he who chooses what is good, and firmly holds it fast.”